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Judge sets date for arguments on Michigan health care claims tax


DETROIT—A federal judge will hear arguments on a lawsuit filed by a trade group challenging a recent Michigan law that imposes a 1% tax on paid health care claims.

Revenue generated by the tax, which is used to help fund the state’s Medicaid program, is paid by health insurers offering fully insured plans, and by third-party claims administrators and stop-loss insurers in the case of self-funded plans.

The Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. has challenged the law, arguing that it is barred by a provision in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA pre-empts state and local laws and rules that relate to employee benefit plans.

But the state of Michigan, which is asking U.S. District Court Judge Julian Abele Cook of the Eastern District of Michigan to dismiss the suit, said ERISA pre-emption does not apply because the tax does not affect plan benefits, structure or administration.

Judge Cook will hear arguments on June 7 on the motion to dismiss the suit.